Career Course for Merchant Navy
Almost all of us have, at some point of lime, shared fascination for the stories of hair-raising adventures and thrilling odysseys of sea-farers and merchants -who would go on voyage from shore to shore and come laden with riches. The modern systems of transport and communication have now revolutionized the practice and meaning of business. Merchant Navy, which is the non-combatant commercial fleet transporting cargo from one destination to another around the globe by sea, offers a very lucrative career option for persons who are sea-farers at heart.
Globalization and interdependence of global trade and commerce provide a rewarding and one of the most prosperous career opportunities for young budding aspirants. Merchant Navy also provides the opportunity to be with one of the greatest creations of nature-seas/oceans for days and months on end. Apart from being exciting,, Merchant Navy is also a lucrative career as it provides excellent packages and prospects of rapid ascent up the professional ladder. Exceptional earning potential and the opportunity to travel around the world are the salient factors which attract aspiring youngsters to this thrill-filled profession.
Merchant Navy is a field open to those aspirants who love to enjoy voyages, which keep them away from home for days and sometimes for months. As such, it is strictly for adventurous people and is not suitable for the homesick kind. Only those with strong leadership skills, a love for sea, adventure and open skies are suited for this challenging yet most rewarding career.
Of all the career options available to the job aspirants who have passed 10+2, Merchant Navy is one which not only ensures a comfortable life with a lucrative pay packet but also offers a splendid opportunity to be with one of the greatest creations of nature-seas / oceans-for days and months on end. Unlike the regular Navy, which is responsible for defending the territorial waters of a country, Merchant Navy is the non-combatant commercial fleet which is involved in transporting cargo from One destination to another around the globe by sea. At times, it transports people as well. Passenger vessels, tankers, carriers, cargo liners and other special types of vehicles are part of this non-combatant fleet.
Since air transportation of goods is quite prohibitive from the monetary point of view and limited in scope, it is the ships which handle 90 percent of world trade. With seaborne trade forecast to almost double over the next 15 years, one can very well imagine the number of people this sector can absorb right now and in future. Despite the fact that India has the largest merchant shipping fleet among the developing countries and ranks among the top countries in the world in shipping tonnage, there is still a big scope for expansion since our. ships carry only 43 percent of the country’s seaborne trade.
The areas of activity in Merchant Navy are broadly grouped in three categories:
- Engineering; and
- Radio & Wireless Communication.
I. Navigation: Officers in this category concern themselves with navigation of the ship, the loading and off-loading of cargo and safety of the passengers (if an)/) and the crew. The Captain of the ship is the chief navigator. He decides the course the ship would take and guides the ship to safety during inclement weather and other emergencies. The Captain takes complete charge of the men and materials in the ship. All other officers help him in carrying out his duties.
II. Engineering: The marine engineers are responsible for efficient and smooth operation of the ship. They take care of all the engineering equipment installed in the ship including the electrical and refrigeration machineries.
III. Radio & Wireless Communication: This department is concerned with keeping in touch with the shore and maintaining the equipment as well.
Merchant Navy consists of passenger vessels, cargo liners, tankers, ore carriers, etc. These ships, operated by public and private shipping companies, are manned by trained navigators, marine engineers and crews. The Union Ministry of Surface Transport shoulders the responsibility of adequate training of personnel for Indian Merchant Navy. Accordingly, a number of training institutes have been set up under the control of the Director-General of Shipping. With stupendous rise in foreign trade over the past years, the engagements of and opportunities for the Merchant Navy has also increased, especially in a country like India, with a long coastline dotted with national and international ports.
The functional set up of a sea ship consists of :
- Deck Department
- Engine Department
- Service Department
- Nautical Surveyors
I. Deck Department : The deck department is headed by the deck officer or navigation officer who is in charge of the navigation of the ship. The navigation -‘officer ensures the safe navigation of the vessel, discipline on the ship and safety of crew, cargo and passengers. He must keep in mind the observance of national and international codes of conduct guiding sea transportation. The captain of the ship has first mate, second mate and third mate to assist him as per the hierarchy. The first mate is the second-in-command in a ship, who work as the right-hand man to the captain.
His job is to supervise all the cargo planning, help in navigation, assign duties to the crew and work to maintain the ship. He also has to make sure that discipline and order arc maintained properly. Next in the hierarchy comes the second officer or second mate, who assists the first mate. His job is to check all mails and keep all the navigational charts and equipment in working condition, fie is also assigned the duty to assist the first officer in navigational watches at sea and cargo watches at port. Next down the order comes the third officer, who is allocated the duty to keep safety equipment in a proper manner.
The life boats, fire fighting and signaling equipment are kept in good working condition by the third officer. He also performs the duty of a signal officer and helps in the cargo work. Ratings, staff with specific duties, are also a part of the deck department who work as look outs and helmsmen. Their job is to assist with the securing of the ship as it reaches ports and help in maintaining cleanliness in the tanks so that the cargo can be placed in a safe and proper manner.
II. Engine Department : The engineers in Merchant Navy are responsible for maintenance of the ship’s engine room. The department is headed by chief engineer or ship engineer whose job is’ to make sure that the engines, boilers, refrigerating, electrical and sanitary equipment, deck machinery and steam connections are working in a safe and economic mode. He keeps an eye on the engine-room crew. The second, third, fourth and fifth engineers work under him so that the work can be done in a proficient and efficient manner. The duty of the second engineer is to look after the day-to-day work in the engine room. The third engineer is assigned the duty to look after the main engine, spare parts for the main engine, purifiers, compressors, boilers, etc.
The fourth and fifth engineers perform the duty of looking after the generators onboard ships and small pumps. Apart from all these engineers, there is also a radio officer and an electrical officer on the ship. The electrical officer has to ensure the proper functioning and handling of all the electrical equipment on the ship. The radio officer, on the other hand, is the head of the radio room and is assigned the duty of handling the operation of the wireless and transmission of the signals. There is one more staff member in the engine department called seaconny who bears the responsibility of proper course of ships. He is also assigned with the task of checking and ensuring that the gangway at port is properly safeguarded.
III. Service Department : The service department on a sea ship bears the responsibility of living and catering services for the crew and other people onboard. The service department is headed by a chief steward at the top and helped by stewards, bakers and messmen. The service department also offers services which include services of divers for underwater examination of the heel of the ship, pipes and propellers. The light keepers help in operating the signalling equipment in order to guide the movement of the ship in the right direction.
IV. Nautical Surveyors : The nautical surveyors prepare chart of various regions of the seas keeping in mind the topography and conditions of the sea.